Griffins advance to Open Division water polo semifinals

Olivia Slavens goes up for a shot over a defender in the Griffins’ win over Newport Harbor on Thursday at Los Alamitos High. Photo by Ted Apodaca

The Los Alamitos High girls water polo team advanced to the semifinals of the CIF-SS Open Division water polo playoffs with an 11-6 win over Newport Harbor on Thursday at Los Alamitos High.

The match was tied 2-2 at the end of the first quarter, but the Griffins began to take control in the second. They extended the lead early in the quarter with goals from Colleen Sorenson and Cici DeLuca to push the lead to 4-2. The Griffin defense kept the Sailors out of the net for the entire second quarter and Olivia Slavens added another goal with about a minute and a half to extend the lead to 5-2 at halftime.

Cici DeLuca was a force on the two-meter line, scoring while being submerged by defenders, and scoring while submerging a defender, as pictured. Photo by Ted Apodaca

Slavens would finish the match with four goals, while DeLuca added three. Olivia Ouellette and Sorensen each finished with one goal. Goalie Joey Niz made several big saves to stave off Newport.

The Griffins extended the lead to 7-2 early in the third on a goal by Isabel Valaika. After Newport cut the lead to 7-3, Valaika added her second goal of the game to make it 8-3.

Newport would get as close as 8-5, but the Griffins kept them at bay. The Griffins advanced to the semifinals where they face Orange Lutheran on Wednesday night at Foothill High (past Sun press time). A win would put them into the championship against the winner of Foothill and Laguna Beach, on Saturday at William Wollett Aquatics Center in Irvine.

The remaining teams were the top four ranked in the final poll: Foothill, Orange Lutheran, Los Alamitos and Laguna Beach, in order.